This week we shine the sonic screwdriver for one of the many female geeks that break down barriers and blaze trails. Asima Chatterjee would be celebrating her 100th birthday this weekend and we want to take a look at some of the reasons why this lady is a boss.
She was the first woman awarded a Ph.D. in India for science, ever. Born in Calcutta, Asima’s passion for science led her to rooms and classes where she was often the only woman. Unfortunately, in the 30’s it was just unheard of for women to be involved in the sciences. At the time, scientist women were rare but Asima molded her opportunity into a legacy of life-changing discovery.
Chatterjee became an expert in phytoscience. Yes, it is as cool and complicated as it sounds. Phytoscience is the science of the causes and manifestations of diseases in plants. It also includes the prevention of these diseases and methods of maintaining plant health. Basically, this is a plant and crop doctor so look into it green thumb geeks.
She discovered a drug to prevent epileptic seizures. Her work has led directly to the development of drugs that treat epilepsy and malaria. An estimated 65 million people suffer from Epilepsy worldwide and anywhere between 300-600 million people contract malaria annually.
In 1961, She was awarded India’s most prestigious science award, the annual Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. It would be another 14 years before a woman would win this award
Asima is not only a trailblazer and a life saver (like millions of times over), she is a geek that reminds us that we need women in the STEM fields. Her contributions affect hundreds of millions of people every year, imagine how much more can be done if we continue to encourage are geeky girls to follow their passion for science…